Wednesday, 19 December 2012

African Witchcraft

African Witchcraft Details
uda (or bouda), in Ethiopian folk religion, is the power of the evil eye and the ability to change into a hyena. Buda is generally believed to be a power held and wielded by those in a different social group, for example among the Beta Israel or metalworkers.[1][2]:20-21 The belief is also present in Sudan, Tanzania, and among the Berber people in Morocco.[3]

Belief in the evil eye, or buda, is widespread in Ethiopia.[4] The Beta Israel, or Ethiopian Jews, are often characterized by others as possessing buda.[2]:20-21 Other castes such as ironworkers are often labeled as bearing the buda.[1] In fact, the word for manual worker, tabib, is also used to denote "one with the evil eye."[5]:49 The alleged evil power of the tabib is believed to be at a level similar to that of witches.[1]

Buda's alleged prevalence among outsiders correlates with the traditional belief that evil eye curses themselves are rooted in envy. As such, those allegedly possessing the power of buda might do so because of malevolent spirits. One study specifies that they are believed to be "empowered by evil spirit".[6] Niall Finneran describes how "the idea of magical creation underpins the perception of artisans in Ethiopia and in the wider African context. In many cases these skills have been acquired originally from an elemental source of evil via the paternal lineage, rather like a Faustian pact."[1] The power of the evil eye allows its bearer to change into a hyena, allowing him or her to attack another person while concealing his or her human identity.[6]

Some Ethiopian Christians carry an amulet or talisman, known as a kitab, or will invoke God's name, to ward off the ill effects of buda.[7] A debtera, who is either an unordained priest or educated layperson, will create these protective amulets or talismans.[1][6]

Ethiopian Orthodox priests continue to intervene and perform exorcisms on behalf of those believed to be afflicted by demons or buda. Such persons are brought to a church or prayer meeting.[6] Amsalu Geleta, in a modern case study, relates elements that are common to Ethiopian Christian exorcisms:
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